Picasso, Matisse, Monet and More: Spectacular Art Heist Stuns Rotterdam Museum
In one of the largest art heists in recent years, thieves in the Dutch city of Rotterdam made off with seven works by renowned artists such as Matisse, Monet, Picasso and Gauguin. Experts say the paintings could be worth up to 100 million euros altogether.
The list of artists is impressive: Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso. But rather than originating from a museum brochure advertising a modern art exhibition, the name registry comes from the Rotterdam police website.
Kunsthal director Emily Ansenk told Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad on Tuesday that she was "speechless," adding: "This is the worst thing that can ever happen to a museum director."
Both the police and the museum, which is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, declined to put a value on the lost paintings. But given the artists involved, it is likely to be substantial. Dutch art historian Jhim Lamoree told Dutch broadcaster RTL that the value of the artworks could be as high as 100 million.
Stolen for Ransom?
The theft is believed to have taken place between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. and appears to have been well-planned. Police on Tuesday were still in the process of looking for clues and analyzing footage from the museum's video surveillance system. The Kunsthal, designed by influential architect Rem Koolhaas, does not have its own collection. The current exhibition is made up of works from the privately owned Triton Foundation collection, and opened just last week.
According to the police and media reports, the list of stolen paintings includes Pablo Picasso's "Tête d'Arlequin," Henri Matisse's "la Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune," Claude Monet's "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross Bridge, London," Paul Gauguin's "Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte, dite la Fiancée," Meyer de Haan's "Autoportrait," and Lucian Freud's "Woman with Eyes Closed."
cgh -- with wire reports
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